XTERRA Guam Championship
Ben Allen from Australia and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 11th annual XTERRA Guam Championship race on a soggy, muddy, adventurous day in the Marianas.
In the men’s race Allen posted the fastest swim, bike, and run splits to take the tape in 2:26:28, a full 10-minutes ahead of runner-up Bradley Weiss from South Africa.
“Ben exited the water with 45 seconds on Weiss and used the bike and run to ensure he claimed the 2015 XTERRA Guam title,â€ explained our field reporter Charlie Epperson, who was 5th overall on the day.
“Due to some weather disturbances in the Western Pacific the race director went to an alternate bike course to allow for a more friendly experience to the racers. Allen wasn’t able to pre-ride the course and attacked it blind. He said he’s looking forward to returning to Australia and pumped to race the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship near his hometown of Wollongong next week. Takahiro Ogasawara finished with a strong run to claim the final podium spot.â€
1 Ben Allen, AUS 2:26:28 100
2 Brad Weiss, RSA 2:36:42 90
3 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 2:40:17 82
4 Markus Benesch, AUT 2:41:53 75
5 Charlie Epperson, USA 2:44:36 69
6 Joe Miller, PHI 2:55:00 63
7 Kaon Cho, KOR 2:59:32 58
In the women’s elite race Wasle passed Slack in the later stages of the run to win her first XTERRA Guam Championship title after many tries.
“Carina was in a close race with Jacqui Slack,â€ said Epperson. “The two battled throughout the bike and run legs with Wasle taking the lead out of the last river section and held on to win by 30 seconds. Wasle noted that she lost one of her shoes and was forced to dig in the mud before chasing Slack down.â€
Local favorite Mieko Carey took the third spot, followed by Daz Parker, Renata Bucher, and Belinda Haddden.
“The weather was no match for the adventure spirit of XTERRA racers,” said Epperson.
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 2:44:21 100
2 Jacqui Slack, GBR 2:44:51 90
3 Mieko Carey, JPN 2:56:10 82
4 Daz Parker, GBR 3:03:51 75
5 Renata Bucher, SUI 3:09:16 69
6 Belinda Hadden, AUS 3:19:11 63
XTERRA New Zealand
Braden Currie and Suzie Snyder captured the 13th annual Paymark XTERRA New Zealand Championship on a beautiful blue sky day at Blue Lake in Rotorua this afternoon.
Early morning rain and cloud cover made way to bright sunshine by the time the race started at 11am but left behind slick and muddy conditions that made a technical bike course even more so.
In the men’s race Currie led early with the second-fastest swim split of the day, just two-seconds by Sam Osborne, and had the lead on the bike until about halfway when local favorite Olly Shaw from Rotorua came storming past.
“Sam and Olly were just killing it on the single track. It was slick out there and a lot of mud so some real challenging riding,â€ said Currie.
Shaw, who posted the fastest bike split of the day (1:11:01) had roughly 30-seconds on Currie heading out on to the run but that wasn’t enough. Currie got past Shaw about three-kilometers into the run and was in cruise control until he caught a glimpse of a hard-charging Osborne towards the end.
“I was really lucky to see Sam because he was flying,â€ said Currie of Osborne, who had the fastest run of the day (40:40) to finish in second place just 13-seconds behind Currie. It was the closest finish in recent memory, made all the more dramatic as Osborne collapsed in exhaustion at the line.
“This is the most rewarding win I’ve had in a few years,” said Currie. “I haven’t been racing here because there has always been an adventure race in China on the same weekend and I’ve wanted to win this one since I started racing XTERRA, so I’m stoked to have got it. It’s an awesome race. It’s short, it’s fast, and it hurts.”
Shaw held on for third, with Aiden Dunster and Josh Kenyon rounding out the top five.
Conrad Stoltz, the defending champ and XTERRA’s all-time wins’ leader, was a race morning scratch after coming down with a bug on the flight over.
“I was gutted to pull. My form is good and this event is world-class. The core of athletes here is incredible and the trails are so challenging and unique. The nature here with the huge tree furns is just amazing,â€ said Stoltz, who stuck around and helped the announcing team describe the day’s action as it happened.
1 Braden Currie, NZL 2:06:24
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 2:06:37
3 Olly Shaw, NZL 2:07:59
4 Aiden Dunster, NZL 2:15:55
5 Josh Kenyon, NZL 2:16:37
6 Sam Clark, NZL 2:16:50
7 Kieran McPherson, NZL 2:18:07
8 Dirk Peters, NZL 2:21:50
9 Cameron Paul, NZL 2:22:04
10 Mitchell Ginsberg, NZL 2:23:17
In the women’s elite race Suzie Snyder’s victory was 12 years in the making. The XTERRA veteran had lots of big wins as an amateur with a couple XTERRA World Championships and four National titles, but today was her first big win as a pro.
“It feels awesome, and it’s about time. It only took me 12 years,â€ exclaimed Snyder after the race.
Snyder had the fastest swim of the day and was riding up front alongside Rachel Challis until pulling away about midway through.
“That bike course was a ton of fun but gnarly in the mud,â€ said Snyder. “The real problem I had was staying focused because I just wanted to look around, it’s so beautiful out there. It’s like no place I’ve ever been. You go from a tropical feel to a Redlands Forest-type scene to jungle action, and it changes all the time so it’s just constant stimulation.â€
Snyder’s winning time of 2:32:29 was less than one-minute faster than Lizzie Orchard who had the fastest run split of the day (48:33) to move from fourth off the bike to second at the finish.
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:32:29
2 Lizzie Orchard, NZL 2:33:24
3 Rachel Challis, NZL 2:35:16
4 Sarah Backler, NZL 2:37:35
5 Samara Sheppard, NZL 2:39:10